Powerful quake kills one child in Croatia’s capital Zagreb

A man takes pictures of damages outside the cathedral of Zagreb after an earthquake, in Zagreb, Croatia, on March 22, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZAGREB, CROATIA (REUTERS) - A large earthquake that struck north of the Croatian capital Zagreb on Sunday (March 22) killed a 15-year-old child, health officials have said.

"An ambulance team took to the field and found under a collapsed building a child who no longer showed signs of life, said Mr Zarko Rasic, the head of the Zagreb Emergency Medicine Institute.

The quake of magnitude 5.3 struck north of Zagreb on Sunday, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences said, damaging buildings, sending many people into the streets, burying vehicles in rubble and causing several fires.

GFZ said the quake struck at a depth of 10km, and it downgraded the magnitude of the quake from an initial reading of 6.0.

"It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt," one witness said, adding that it was followed by several aftershocks.

Croatia's seismologist Ines Ivancic said the tremor was strong but the immediate damage could not be assessed. She added that the Internet was down in some areas.

A Reuters reporter on the scene saw a church bell tower damaged and people taking to the streets.

Croatia's Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic appealed via his Twitter account to people in the streets to keep a distance among themselves as the country struggles to the contain coronavirus spread. So far, the country has reported 206 cases of coronavirus and one death.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.4, while European Mediterranean Seismological Centre also reported 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude earthquake.

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